Geological materials include minerals, rocks, precious materials (precious stones, gems, precious metals and rare fossils) and building materials derived from geological materials (cement, mortar, concrete, etc.).
Minerals are indispensable materials in human activities for which they have always represented a primary resource. Some minerals are used as they are, such as talc, sulfur or asbestos; others are treated to obtain materials that can be used in the most varied fields of industrial application: electronics, mechanics, construction, pharmaceutical and cosmetic manufacturing, paints and varnishes. Furthermore, the crystalline structures produced in nature represent a source of inspiration for the synthesis, that is the artificial reproduction of technologically advanced materials.
The study of minerals, their structure and their composition, therefore, is of forensic interest not only for investigations relating to geosciences, but also for all those criminalistic sciences that have the purpose of identify material of any nature, whether it organic, inorganic or synthetic.
Rocks are geological materials that are often involved in criminal dynamics both because they are present in fragments in the soil, therefore in incoherent geological materials, and because they are frequently used as a blunt or ballistic object.
Generally, identification analysis of rocks are aimed both at comparing multiple samples and at determining their origin.
Precious geological materials (gems, precious metals and rare fossils)
Due to the traceability of banking transactions on a national and international level, criminal associations use precious items as a leverage for the trafficking of arms, drugs and for all those crimes that require a monetary transaction. Gems, precious metals and rare fossils are used for money laundering and as an alternative form of investment of the proceeds of criminal associations, in parallel with the rapid development of smuggling of these objects. The crimes listed above are associated with those relating to falsification, manipulation and imitation when there is a willful misconduct. Falsification has become more and more frequent and has improved over time to the point of reaching such high levels, thanks to modern technologies, that even experts can be misled by a generic examination.
A lot of building materials derived from geological materials. Generally the building materials involved in criminal cases are bricks, mortars, limes, plaster, ceramics, cements and concrete.
The analysis of geological materials include chemical (destructive and non-destructive) techniques aimed at identifying their composition, crystalline structure and the nature of elements, as well as physical analysis that determine their main properties and are carried out in ISO 9001 certified laboratories. and ISO 17025:
Morphological analysis in stereoscopic microscopy (shape, color, luster, cleavage, fracture, birefringence, purity, cut)
Mineralogical-petrographic analysis in thin section with polarized light microscope (PLM)
UV fluorescence analysis
X-ray diffractometry (XRD)
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDX)
Fourier Transform IR Spectroscopy (FT-IR)
Thermal analysis (TG, DTA, DSC)